So many of us look for guidance, help, shelter, comfort and advice from our churches. But we sometimes fail to appreciate and recognize that, just like us, churches aren’t perfect.
Churches try to serve as many as they can in their congregation with different programs and ministries. But, after all, they will never fully know the needs of their congregation unless we tell them straight up what WE need. Or unless they ask and we answer honestly and openly.
According a survey by LifeWay Research and Focus on the Family, 75% of Pastors say they are doing enough in their church to help marriages. Yet only 69% of churches have an ongoing ministry. That’s a mighty big disconnect. (In New Hampshire it is more like 95% of churches that don’t have a marriage ministry). Great article here about the challenges Pastors face with marriage ministries.
When we entered the marriage ministry one year ago, we were somewhat critical of churches for not prioritizing and focusing on what we believe to be the overarching issue in the breakdown of our families across America. We believe that is marriage. And we believe that marriage should be the priority of every church. But we are just two people who don’t have a say – which is why we are here writing.
As a remarried couple, we have become painfully aware that the church has a difficult time reconciling divorce with the need to care for remarried couples. We also understand that churches are limited in their capacity to help due to that fact that developing a marriage ministry is a big undertaking. Churches simply have to weigh the benefits versus costs and in most churches across America, they choose to let others outside the church deal with the challenge of strengthening or saving marriages.
Did you know that, on average, 78 couples out of 500 church members are struggling in their marriage, yet only 6 couples ask for help. 30% of couples in your church are struggling but they won’t speak up. So the sad reality is, until churches hear from their congregations that they want a marriage ministry, they are unlikely to start one.
But don’t give up if you are frustrated because there are resources available! That’s why we started this blog – to network and let you know where you can get help.
In fact, we arranged to bring one of the best marriage experts in America right here to New Hampshire for a conference this fall! Check out our marriage conference here and please try to make it!
So to sum up: Don’t get upset if your church doesn’t focus on marriage, go out of your way to tell your Pastor that you want the church to start a marriage ministry, utilize resources outside the church like the conference we are offering above, and PLEASE don’t avoid help if you are struggling. You are not at all alone! There is help for you and light at the end of the tunnel.
God bless you all!